JOHN 10: 1-10
“Jesus–The Good Shepherd- The Gate- The Pasture.”
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, Oh Lord, Our King, Our Strength and Our Redeemer! AMEN
Today's Gospel brings us face to face with the pastoral mission of Jesus our Messiah. He is the Good Shepherd that David knew and mentions in Psalm 23. …..and we sing:
The King of love my shepherd is
Whose goodness faileth never,
I nothing lack if I am his ,
and He is mine forever !.
The Gospel for today, speaks volumes. Jesus in introducing us to the total role that He plays in all of our lives gave an image of Himself as a Good Shepherd. In fact as -THE Good Shepherd, the Gate, and the Pasture ! Yes,all three!
What a paradigm shift- It sure was for the Scribes and Pharisees. What about us? Do we grasp how awesome this is, and what it really means for us today?
In laymen terms, a paradigm shift is a popular (or perhaps, not so popular) shift or a transformation of the way we as humans perceive events, people, environment, and life altogether.... it could have dramatic effects on the way we live our lives.
For example, when Galileo, determined that the sun was the centre of the Solar System and not the earth, it totally changed the way people viewed the world! It forced theologians to live by God's word and not by the transient views of scientists.
And Jesus' words provided a similar paradigm shift!
Jesus was declaring Himself to be THE TRUTH, THE WAY, THE LIFE !
Jesus introduced the concept of the good shepherd, attempting to shift the religious paradigm of his day. Then, people looked to the Pharisees as their spiritual leaders who, alas, took advantage of common folk, from their position of power. Things like healing, salvation, or repentance of sins, required their permission. Jesus, on the other hand, wanted them to understand that a spiritual leader is one who is like a shepherd and a gatekeeper, who looks after his sheep even at the cost of his own life. This Jesus did!
A good shepherd rescues his sheep when they go astray or are attacked by wolves, or harm of any sort, either outside or inside the pen. He also leads the flock to nourishing pasture. He feeds them on the best and comforts them with his words.
His sheep as a result know his voice and will follow him wherever he goes! All this is exemplified in Jesus the Christ, our Shepherd/Saviour/Door/King – giver of abundant rich life!, as recorded for us in the BIBLE.
Now how does this relate to our walk with God?
Are we able to acknowledge this new paradigm for our lives? Can we accept the fact that Jesus is the doorway to salvation? The only way? The door or gate we need to choose in order to have life and to have it more abundantly? And do we tell this good news to others or witness to this fact?
We must live our lives with the dependency in mind that we gain from knowing Jesus as our Guide , Shepherd and Protector.
He is the gateway to life and also the spiritual food that sustains us and gives us eternal life!
As Shepherd he knows his flock personally. Each person counts. No one is better than another. His voice is a familiar one. He cares for his sheep and has their best interest in mind, rather than his own.
As sheep that Jesus calls into the church, we must experience this all-encompassing, intimate relationship with Jesus, and encourage others to do the same.
Sheep follow him because they trust him. He cares for them by protecting them at night, and at the same time he sets them free during the day.
Jesus explicitly said that “anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate/door but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit”.
In other words there is only one door that leads to salvation. the door of Christ. JESUS was the new paradigm, he was and is the way,the Truth,The Life !
Jesus was and is asking : Can you SEE? Can you HEAR?
When we experience a paradigm shift it means we have to change: to accept the paradigm of Jesus as our door-
1st- We have to live our lives fully dependent on God
2nd- We give the voice of God the highest priority.
3rd - We follow!
When we do these things we will live in the abundance God has for us.
As Christians we have to be able to identify with both sides of the equation.
As leaders in the Church, Jesus is our guide and model; loving and sacrificing for the welfare of God's flock.
As sheep, Jesus is also our model. He only did what He saw the Father doing and only said what he heard the Father say; and this should be our modus-operandi also.
We pray to God and listen for His answers and we study His word to learn the will of God. Then knowing His will we can follow Him wholeheartedly.
Jesus came to bring us salvation and abundant life. This He accomplished and we can and should avail ourselves of these.
We do this by believing on Jesus. Then as we get to know Him we will better recognize His voice leading us.
And because we know His voice we will not be fooled by the voices of those who are strangers to God's way of life.
When dealing with people who are having problems it has been my experience that, in the main, they depend on themselves or their position instead of depending on God. With prayer for God's help, problems can soon disappear! But, somehow, we humans find it very difficult to control the ego. We like to control the doorways to our lives instead of giving God the opportunity to open and close them for us. Since Jesus is the door to life, then we must be willing to enter when the door is open and rest in Him when the door is closed.
Egoistic behaviour and Worldliness is not the prerogative of non-Christians only!
Christians have to grow in the Lord and this can take time; sometimes a lot of time before they realise that the Church is not a Worldly secular styled organisation, A Business, or even an Organisation.... but a “God led organism”- a FAMILY! God's FAMILY!
Brothers,and sisters, let us not forget the paradigm shift- but always remember, we are those who hear Jesus' voice and who follow Him. As we learnt today from -
John 10 :1-10, JESUS IS OUR GOOD SHEPHERD, THE DOOR and OUR PASTURAGE!
He leads us to sweet pastures and restores our souls and gives us abundant life. What a GOOD God we worship!
AMEN! Hallelujah!! AMEN!!!